About 10 years ago my husband and I were asked to lead a church Bible study. As these things go it wasn’t because we were so knowledgeable, it was because we were warm bodies. They said we weren’t to be teachers of the study, just facilitators. They always say that. But you and I both know a good Bible study group has a leader that can dig deeper, draw people out into discussions, and glean insight in topics. True to my character, I jumped in with both feet attempting to educate myself better on each topic that arose. I found the key, however, when in these situations was to 1) identify the people in the group who were more knowledgeable and 2) know when to say “I have no idea.” Fast forward to today. Even right now, as I write this, I fear saying the wrong thing because I realize I’m no “esteemed theologian.” But I do know I have the mind of Christ (2Cor 2:16).
As usual for my morning routine I got up that morning the first of July, did a couple devotionals, and took my dog for a walk. We were about four months into the Covid lockdown. I was leading a small Bible study with friends, and in the midst of a Boldness Challenge in which I had invited about 20 people to participate. The challenge was coming to an end in a few weeks. As I listened to my Christian music on my walk and doing some silent praying, I heard Him speak. “Go home right now and start a blog.” Seriously. Starting a blog hadn’t been on my radar. I enjoyed just conversing with folks in my small sphere. But, feeling challenged by God, I walked in the door, sat down at my computer and typed, “best platforms to start a blog.” Within the hour I had created Emboldened. I invited all my Bold Challenge buddies and a few more to follow the blog. I started praying to the Almighty about what He wanted me to say. In these situations, I typically find myself praying, “Whelp, this was your idea. Now what?”
When I hit 200 visitors from about 10 different countries, I had a revelation. “Oh crud. I have just opened myself up to judgement on a whole new scale.” I told my Bible study girls that while it was cool it was also terrifying. Cool because I’m using a number of my God-given gifts to reach people around the world. Terrifying because I might slip up in my theology and harsh words will rain down.
I wonder if that’s why so many of us are fearful about speaking up when talking about our faith? Maybe we will be questioned and won’t know the answer. Or worse yet, we might get something wrong and be harshly judged? But God. That’s what a fellow blogger wrote in one of my comments last week. But God. That statement works so well in so many situations. We were talking about God’s mercy. But if I truly trust God and the direction He has set in front of me, He will guide my words to be His Words. He will take my failings and trials and make them good. I don’t believe James is discouraging us to be teachers. He’s letting us know we need to be prepared to speak the truth of God’s Word and in doing so we will face opposition, sometimes very cruel opposition.
There’s only one person that was perfect – Jesus. I find comfort in knowing that every single person from C.S Lewis to Charles Spurgeon and Peter to Paul and Joyce Meyer to Rick Warren stumble. We all stumble. But think of stumbling this way – it is a result of walking forward and not watching where we are going. James 3 is about stumbling and refocusing our eyes on God. When we don’t watch our tongue, when we envy others we stumble. But when we re-focus on God we find ourselves making peace with the most unlikely people and submitting ourselves fully.
I’m glad you are on this journey with me. When I stumble help me up and I will help you too. No judgement, just a loving hand.